Kingston, Jamaica: Going into his first international match at home since June 2010, Chris Gayle hopes to score big to get West Indies off to winning ways in the first ODI on Thursday at his home ground of Sabina Park.
"The start to this series is very important. From a personal point of view, I want to do well in my home town. I will just look at it as another game,” he told reporters. "I will look to give the team a good start, look to see what the bowlers are doing, and once I get set, look to capitalise and make it count."
Gayle’s last outing at Sabina Park was in February, his first first-class match in over a year. Then, he scored 165 off 155 balls for Jamaica against Windward Islands to set up an 81-run win and having done so, tweeted that the innings felt like a Test hundred. Ahead of the first ODI, Gayle hoped he could score big again.
The West Indies opener's last innings in front of his home fans was a century, and he hopes to repeat the feat against New Zealand.
"The last time I walked off Sabina Park I was raising my bat after I got 165 for Jamaica against Windward Islands. That people of Jamaica have not had cricket at Sabina for a while so it is good to have cricket come back to Jamaica,” he said. "I would love to get a hundred here and raise my bat again."
Gayle reckoned the Sabina Park pitch was a good one. “[It] should be a very good track for batting. I believe there could be some assistance for the fast bowlers early on as well and at some stage you could expect the spinners to come into play,” he said. "I have played here many times and I'm accustomed to the conditions so we know what to expect.”
Gayle’s recent Twenty20 exploits have seen a more patient approach, with the opener often biding his time before accelerating. He did this repeatedly and with astounding success in the IPL and used the same approach in the Twenty20s against New Zealand in Florida over the weekend. Asked as to why he has decided to start slowly and then tee off, Gayle said: "I don't know why that has been happening. If I get a bad ball early, that can give me the momentum to be more attacking. If that doesn't happen, you had to adapt to the situation, get the feel and know what the ball is doing. Sometimes as a batsman, things go your way from ball one."